Connecting telephone, internet and mobile lines in Spain
A guide to connecting a fixed-line phone, internet and mobile line in Spain, and the main communication providers in the Spanish market.
Connecting the telephone in Spain
Movistar is the national supplier of landline telephone service, cellular/mobile telephone service, Internet and ADSL. Long-distance and Internet service may be obtained through other providers, but the basic landline will still be provided through Movistar. The company is an ex-state service and still retains more than 80% of the market share. Many people continue to use Movistar by habit, even if the rates are more expensive than other competitors.
Installing a phone line
Installing a phone line can only be done via Movistar as they are the only company authorised in Spain to install a telephone line. Even if you want to subscribe with another operator, Movistar will send a technician to connect the line. The Movistar website has a search feature that allows potential customers to check if desired services are available in their area, though the website is in Spanish. If you live in a new development or a rural area there may be lengthy delays (up to several months) for installation.
Before moving into an apartment or house, verify if there is a line (the presence of phone jacks does not mean a line is installed). Where a phone line is functioning and "live" it is possible (and less expensive) to transfer the account from the name of the previous occupant to the new one.
Requests for transfers may be done online at the Movistar website and can be submitted up to two months in advance of the changeover. Customers moving within the same Movistar tariff zone may be able to keep their previous Movistar phone number.
Line installation is free until the end of the year if joining with a 6-month contact, starting from EUR 13.90 per month. If you decide to go with one of Movistar’s competitors you will have to pay EUR 83.53.
To ask your ‘alta de telefonia’ you can either call Movistar at 1004, subscribe online on their website movistar.com/es or go to one of their shops near you.
Movistar’s main competitors:
- Orange: 902 01 22 40, www.orange.es
- Jazztel: 11833, jazztel.com
- Tele2: 800 760 770, tele2adsl.es
- Vodafone: 22189 (in English), vodafone.es
- ONO: www.ono.es
Also, when installing your line, you can choose to rent a phone, which may be a temporary solution, but usually a pretty expensive option in the long run.
Using your telephone
All Spanish numbers are composed of 9 digits, and there isn’t an area code so whether you’re calling a local or national number you will have to compose the same number.
If you call an international number, you will have to dial 00 first, the country code, followed by the area code (dropping the ‘0’) and then the number.
If you need to make a collect call, you will need to dial 1409 before the number if it’s a Spanish fixed phone, 210 if you want to call a mobile phone.
Different types of phone numbers
902: Cost a bit more than local calls but less than national calls.
901: The same as the 902 but cost less for the user as the cost is split between the caller and the enterprise.
905: Used to vote during TV shows.
803: Adult lines
806: Entertainment and games
807: Professional services
118: Information and services.
Bills and costs
Bills are usually sent monthly to your address and you can also choose to view them online. As for the payment, you can choose to pay your phone bill by cash, to the bank or your operator’s shop. You can pay it online or set a direct debit. However, regardless of how you pay you will always get a detailed bill with the list of the calls you made. The costs depend of your operator, the time of the day you make your calls, and whether or not you call nationally or internationally; that’s why it is important to evaluate your needs and compare the different offers and promotions going on.
Nowadays, 92.5 percent of the Spanish population has a mobile phone and they talk on average 24 minutes a day. The operators are the same as the ones for fixed phone lines with the addition of Yoigo. Growing competition in the Spanish market has made the prices drop, and the range of services on offer rise. Again, before signing up with a provider, make sure you have compared the different options available to you.
A very cheap alternative, especially if you are calling abroad is by using Skype. You can download it for free and if you are calling another person who also has Skype it is free. You can call international phones and mobiles, even sending text messages at reduced rates. A recent addition to the VOIP market is Viber, a smartphone application that allows free texts and calls to other Viber users. Unlike Skype it doesn’t require you to log on. You just need to open the app and use a WIFI connection.
Finally, you can also buy special prepaid cards for international calls; you will find them in Internet cafes, tobacconists and newsagents. Sometimes cards are targeted at specific countries, offering cheap international calls.
Once you’ve installed your phone line, you can choose to sign a contract for Internet services with your phone provider, allowing you to get a promotional package including phone, internet and TV. The prices vary widely from EUR 25 – 75 per month, depending on what is included in your package, so it is sensible to choose a contract that suits your needs.
It is not always essential to subscribe to a high speed Internet via your phone provider. It depends on how much access you need - other solutions can also be considered.
The service generally offered by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is one of three:
- Pay as you go (PAYG)
- Flat rate service (tarifa plana) – fixed amount per month for unlimited access
- Combination of PAYG and flat rate – usually involving a flat fee for access off-peak and a per-minute charge during business hours.
If you use the Internet very little, a dial-up connection may be your best option. This can be billed per minute or on the basis of predefined credit, with a monthly bill. This means you will have access to a certain amount of time online, and if you exceed your given time, you will pay by the minute for the extra. Note that the dial-up connection will use your phone line, so you won’t be able to call or receive calls while you are online. Also, the connection is made via an ethernet cable, meaning several computers can’t be connected at the same time
The most common and practical way to get the Internet is to include it as part of the package with your phone provider. ADSL and cable broadband are the preferred ways to get Internet for many people, as it is much faster than a dial-up connection, leaves your phone line free and is unlimited in time. For ADSL broadband, you may have to buy or rent the hardware needed to get Internet, and you will have to follow the instructions to install it yourself. However, if you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself, most of the providers can send technicians to help you for an extra charge.
If you need Internet throughout your home, or if several computers need an Internet access, a WIFI router will be your best option, allowing other computers and mobile devices to connect to your network.
The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism has a policy of universal service whereby the provision of electronic communications service is guaranteed to all users who request it, regardless of geographical location. This includes broadband up to 1 Mbps. This is the responsibility of Movistar until the end of 2016.
High-speed access usually involves signing a contract of one year and if you terminate the contract you may incur high fees, so make sure this is the option you want before signing.
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